A Mi'kmaw prayer circle that was built two decades ago in Tracadie and had fallen into disrepair has now been rejuvenated.
A rededication ceremony with smudging and drumming was held Saturday at the sacred grounds located on the Portage Trail.
The circle was established there by elders and other members of the Mi'kmaw community in 2000, but it wasn't maintained. Elder Junior Peter-Paul said he didn't even know the circle was there.
"You couldn't even walk through it," he said.
Peter-Paul revitalized the area with his friend, Alex Stewart.
"I had to step in a little bit, and then I started seeing the rocks in the circle there. So from there, I started cutting everything, bushes. There's dead trees, falling trees all over it and quite tall trees too, growing in the centre."
Peter-Paul said circles hold a very important place in Mi'kmaw ceremonies, symbolizing the four cardinal directions as well as the cyclical nature of life.
He said he hopes people use the area to relax, meditate and pray, and, if they can, to leave offerings for animals.
Wilfred Lacy of the Tracadie Cross Seniors Good Neighbourly Club attended the ceremony. He said he hopes the circle provides visitors a place of respite during troubled times.
"If it wasn't renewed, it would disappear," he said.
"It has a healing atmosphere to everybody that [hopefully people] will just take the time to quietly sense what it's about. And there's a lot of healing needed today, for various reasons."